The Cost Per Square Foot to Build a Custom Home in Ontario

Image to reflect custom home and cost to builder per square foot

Understanding the Cost Per Square Foot to Build A Custom Home

Building a custom home is an exciting endeavour, but it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the costs involved. One of the most common questions we receive is, “How much does it cost per square foot to build a custom home in Ontario?” In this blog post, we’ll delve into the factors that influence this cost and provide you with a comprehensive overview to help you plan your project effectively.

Your Site

The property is always a critical component when it comes to your custom home. Is it a lakeside home with breathtaking views? A 50 acre forested sanctuary? An existing 100 x 200 lot in your dream community? All of these factors are important, and each property will call for specific requirements that will impact design and cost to build.

We have designed and built homes in all of these situations, and we find that every lot always has its own unique features and costs that come with them. It may be protecting the water way or protecting the large mature trees, it may need a well or septic system, or it may need engineered shoring to protect neighbours properties during construction. Each one of these will add a different line and a different cost to the budget.


The foundation is the backbone of any home and plays a significant role in determining the cost per square foot. The type of foundation you choose—whether it’s a slab, crawl space, or full basement, ICF (insulated concrete forms) — will impact both the construction time and the overall cost. For instance, a full basement requires more excavation and concrete, thus increasing the cost per square foot compared to a slab foundation. 

Another critical factor to consider in the foundation is the height of your basement. Do you want a standard 8′ basement with low bulk heads, or a 10′ clear height, or maybe an indoor pool…. The design options are endless and we can go for days with them! All of these factors will impact the cost per square foot. That is why the details matter.


 The quality of materials used in your custom home will directly affect the final cost. We all know that’s obvious, but the variation is actually quite extreme! From flooring and roofing to windows and insulation, each material choice comes with its price tag. Opting for high-end materials will naturally drive up the cost per square foot, while more budget-friendly options can help keep expenses in check. It’s crucial to strike a balance between quality and budget to achieve the desired result without overspending.

To give you an idea of how extreme the swing can be; We have built custom homes in Ontario with beautiful cabinetry packages that cost $75,000.00. We have built custom homes in Ontario with the same linear footage of cabinetry, but the cost was $210,000.00. That’s a big swing!

Materials should always be fully selected prior to construction starting. This way you can truly understand your cost before you start. At a minimum, ensure that you carry an allowance that truly represents what you want and need.

Design Complexity

The complexity of your home design can also impact the cost per square foot. Intricate architectural features, customizations, and unique design elements may require additional labor and materials, resulting in a higher overall cost. Conversely, simpler designs with standardized layouts and fewer customizations tend to be more cost-effective.

We find that our design and build approach brings great value to these conversations. When we are involved with the design, we can always keep our eye on the budget as the plans emerge. Highlighting different options to ensure that the budget is always kept top of mind. When we design to a building end cost, we are committed to meeting that. However, if we are not involved early, we have limited ability to create savings if your design is set in stone when we start our journey together.

Labor Costs

 Skilled labor is essential for quality craftsmanship, but it comes at a price. Labor costs can vary based on factors such as the complexity of the design, the availability of skilled workers in the area, and prevailing wage rates. It’s essential to work with experienced contractors who can provide accurate estimates and deliver high-quality workmanship within your budget.

When it comes to labor costs in Ontario, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. At Ever After Custom Homes we work with high caliber, skilled trades people who deliver top quality workmanship.

Permits and Fees

 Obtaining the necessary permits and adhering to building codes is a non-negotiable aspect of home construction. Permit fees, inspection costs, and other regulatory requirements can add to the overall cost of the project. It is essential to factor these expenses into your budget from the outset to avoid any surprises down the line. These are commonly referred to as the project soft costs.

Overhead and Profit

 Builders need to cover their overhead costs, including equipment, insurance, and administrative expenses, while also making a profit margin. This overhead, combined with the builder’s profit margin, contributes to the final cost per square foot. While it’s tempting to focus solely on construction costs, it’s crucial to consider these overhead expenses to ensure a successful and sustainable project.

We believe that everyone deserves to be paid a fair value based on their deliverables. Sometimes companies can get carried away with their overhead. That is why we, at Ever After Custom Homes have built our Ontario operations as boutique/concierge style building operations. We can provide the highest level of service and quality at the most competitive price.

Market Conditions

 Construction costs can fluctuate based on market conditions, including supply and demand dynamics, material prices, and labor availability. Economic factors such as inflation and currency fluctuations can also influence construction costs over time. Staying informed about market trends and working closely with your builder can help you navigate these challenges effectively.

We have built custom homes throughout Ontario in slow markets, hot markets and the COVID market. At Ever After Homes we understand the importance of tracking the marketplace and staying ahead of the obstacles by focusing on the fundamental economics in Ontario that provide us with a head start forecast to protect our projects and our clients.

In conclusion, the cost per square foot to build a custom home in Ontario, Canada, can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. From foundation type and materials selection to design complexity and labor costs, numerous variables must be considered when estimating the overall cost of your project. By working closely with experienced professionals, setting a realistic budget, and carefully planning each aspect of your custom home build, you can achieve your dream home without breaking the bank. Remember, investing in quality craftsmanship and materials is an investment in the long-term value and enjoyment of your home.